Posts

October 24, 2014

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11:29 PM | ACS Presidential Candidate Peter Dorhout on #chemjobs issues
I recently sent an e-mail to Professor (and dean) Peter Dorhout, who is currently running for the ACS President-Elect position to see if he was interested in answering last year's questions for ACS presidential candidates.He responded this evening. His unedited response is below:CJ: Which ACS program do you think best helps the job-seeking ACS member? How would you improve it?Prof. Dorhout: Over the past few years, the careers office of ACS has been retooling and refocusing itself after several […]
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3:37 PM | ACS Presidential Candidate Donna Nelson on #chemjobs issues
I recently sent an e-mail to Professor Donna Nelson, who is currently running for the ACS President-Elect position to see if she was interested in answering last year's questions for ACS presidential candidates. Here is a portion of the e-mail I sent: Below are the questions that my readers and I have come up with. If you need any clarification, please feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I will run your unedited response as soon as you give me permission to (and not a moment before!)  1. […]
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3:37 PM | Job posting: Senior Scientist II, AbbVie, Lake Forest, IL
Via Crash, I think it is interesting how specific some of these process positions are getting these days: AbbVie is seeking a creative and highly motivated chemist to work in its Catalysis Group to conduct research and development of state-of-the-art catalytic methods (e.g., C-H activation, C-X cross coupling, asymmetric hydrogenation, organocatalysis, photoredox catalysis, etc.) for applications spanning the continuum of pharmaceutical discovery through development and commercialization […]
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3:27 PM | Anyone know the answer to this question on SDS format?
What do resellers or distributors of chemicals need to do, with respect to safety data sheets? Are there any rules (GHS or other) that say the SDS has to come from the company that physically made the solution? Do safety data sheets need to include the reseller/distributor's company information on the sheet, the actual manufacturer that makes the chemicals, and/or both? Answers accepted by e-mail or in the comments - thanks! 
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2:49 PM | UK labor law is different, apparently
An interesting forward from an anonymous source in the UK: Male Laboratory Technicians, £17,000, Permanent, Guildford I am looking to fill two lab vacancies for a local pharmaceutical company. The company specialises in research and development and is going through a period of growth. This is a great opportunity to begin a scientific career.... ...These positions are only open to male applicants, this is due to the exposure of teratogenic drugs which women should not use.I […]
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2:31 PM | A public recording of a bet with Rob Westervelt, editor of IHS Chemical Week
A couple weeks ago, I expressed my frustration on Twitter with a USA Today piece that seemed to be an attempt to push younger people into manufacturing careers without a recognition that, over the long term, employment in manufacturing has been falling:"Anyone touting new blue-collar jobs be willing to put $500 down on 10 year trajectory of manufacturing employment?"Rob Westervelt (the editor-in-chief of IHS Chemical Week) asked what the over/under for growth in the manufacturing super-sector […]
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10:33 AM | The class warfare of Halloween
What’s the best thing about Halloween, the dress-up or the candy? Or is it the fact that, for that one night, you can go up to people’s houses and ring their bell and talk to them when they answer the door, and if you’re a kid you can even get demand and receive a gift? […]

October 23, 2014

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6:23 PM | Denver chemistry teacher charged w/assault for methanol demo
Courtesy of JJ, I see that the chemistry teacher who had a methanol demo go bad on him was charged by the Denver district attorney: A former teacher is being charged in connection with an explosion at a Denver charter school that injured four students, one critically. Daniel Powell, 24, has been served with a summons charging him with four counts of third-degree assault, a class 1 misdemeanor, the Denver District Attorney said in a news release Wednesday. The charges allege that […]
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1:56 PM | I find this NYT article just a bit naive
Surely we don't need professors to tell us about hiding information from your colleagues at work: Knowledge-hiding in the workplace is common and takes different forms, some more harmful than others, according to new research by Catherine E. Connelly, an associate business professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and David Zweig, an associate management professor at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. Theirs was not a study of inadvertent communication failures. […]
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1:47 PM | Daily Pump Trap: 10/23/14 edition
A few of the positions posted at C&EN Jobs over the past couple of days:Slim pickins: Not too many positions posted.Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: I see Saudi Aramco is hiring for a B.S. chemist position.Chicago, IL: Wheatland Tube is hiring a coatings engineer for steel. I love this line: " This position will report directly to the Corporate Coatings Director, and functionally to the Electrical, Fence, and Mechanical Tube Division Quality Assurance Director." This is a company that loves its […]
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10:45 AM | Links (with annotation)
I’ve been heads down writing this week but I wanted to share a bunch of great stuff coming out. Here’s a great interview with machine learning expert Michael Jordan on various things including the big data bubble (hat tip Alan Fekete). I had a similar opinion over a year ago on that topic. Update: here’s […]
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10:17 AM | Finding taxis on rainy days
A classic story on the play-list of many behavioural economics presentations is why you can’t find taxis on rainy days. The story is based on the idea that taxi drivers work to an income target. If driver wages are high due to high demand for taxis, such as when it rains, they will reach their income […]

October 22, 2014

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8:34 AM | Is payment by diagnosis for dementia a good strategy?
There is a considerable furore surrounding the new proposal to pay GPs £55 for each dementia diagnosis. The Patients Association called it “a step too far” that would mean a “bounty on the head” of some patients (link), while the Daily Mail quoted a GP as describing the programme as ‘an intellectual and ethical travesty.’ Vitriol […]
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6:00 AM | Do economists care about patients?
I stand accused. Not of a particularly heinous crime, but of something that has given me pause for thought recently. During a discussion about a piece of work involving patient outcomes, I was accused of ‘thinking like an economist’. Had this come from an economist, it would have been meant in a complementary sense – […]

October 21, 2014

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3:39 PM | I've never heard of a "chemistry engineer", Mr. President.
Courtesy of Twitter user @cjt217, I see that the White House (or whichever junior deputy vice associate general special assistant to the President who wrote this letter) has invented a new term for "chemical engineers." Ah, well.(Found in the third or fourth page of the October 13 issue of C&EN.)
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3:24 PM | A guest post by Chad Jones: "4 things you probably already know about grad school but really shouldn't ignore."
CJ's note: Chad wrote this for the blog back when he was defending his dissertation -- he is now Dr. Jones and is working in industry. Soon I'll be defending my dissertation and finishing up my PhD. I also have several friends who are just beginning their graduate career. It’s been a very reflective time for me. I've thought about what advice I would give to those friends just starting grad school (I've also been wondering how helpful that advice would be - after all, I read plenty […]
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3:19 PM | "...however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority"
A reader points out the University of Alberta's interesting "Equal Opportunity" statement for its 3 tenure-track positions for assistant/associate professors in chemistry: "All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. If suitable Canadian citizens or permanent residents cannot be found, other individuals will be considered. The University of Alberta hires on the basis of merit. We are committed to the principle of […]
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3:03 PM | Daily Pump Trap: 10/21/14 edition
Not too many industrial positions of late (last 1-2 weeks or so) at C&EN Jobs:Lake Charles, LA: Rain Cii is looking for a B.S. chemist with 5 years experience for a "lab superintendent." (What a grand title!) San Francisco, CA: Oh, man, you've heard of "method" products, right? Check out this description for a "green chef director":Reporting to the Sr. Director of Formulation, a Green Chef is part chemist, part engineer, part innovator and part git-r-done. The Green Chef role is to […]
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2:48 PM | Ivory Filter Flask: 10/21/14 edition
A few of the recent academically-related positions posted on C&EN Jobs:New York, NY: NYU is looking for an assistant professor of physical, biophysical, or inorganic chemistry as part of its Laboratory for Molecular Nanoscience. (I find all of these tiny institutes kind of funny -- what are they supposed to accomplish?)Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan College of Pharmacy's Department of Medicinal Chemistry is searching for an associate professor to join its department.Durham, […]
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11:05 AM | Guest post: The dangers of evidence-based sentencing
This is a guest post by Luis Daniel, a research fellow at The GovLab at NYU where he works on issues dealing with tech and policy. He tweets @luisdaniel12. Crossposted at the GovLab. What is Evidence-based Sentencing? For several decades, parole and probation departments have been using research-backed assessments to determine the best supervision and treatment […]
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12:07 AM | Offered without comment
From today's Wall Street Journal.

October 20, 2014

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6:08 PM | Cameras being cheaper than higher wages...
From the Wall Street Journal, an interesting comment on regional labor shortages from the Federal Reserve: The Federal Reserve’s “Beige Book” report, released Wednesday, offered a generally upbeat outlook on the U.S. economy in September and October from anecdotes offered from its 12 regional banks... In the Dallas region, residential construction contacts “noted persistent labor shortages.” Indeed, in Houston, “a few builders were placing cameras […]
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6:03 PM | My challenge to those who believe in (s)low economic growth
"A more sustainable economy" has long been a theme of Rudy Baum's C&EN editorials -- the latest column in this week's C&EN is a rerun of a column from 2004*:I will review “Red Sky at Morning” in an upcoming issue of C&EN. Here, I want to take up one issue that Speth returns to repeatedly in his book: For our global economy to become a sustainable economy will require a fundamental shift in the economic paradigm that governs human activity today. Specifically, Speth […]
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5:46 PM | Something for California taxpayers to grouse about
I have been extremely remiss in noting that Kim Christensen of the Los Angeles Times has revealed UCLA spent over 4.4 million dollars defending Professor Patrick Harran from felony charges in relation to the death of Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji in 2009 due to an accident in his laboratories with tert-butyl lithium:After UCLA chemistry professor Patrick Harran walked out of court in June, his lawyers issued a news release hailing the "first-of-its-kind" deal that all but freed him from […]
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3:28 PM | The weirdest dietary theory you will see today
Also from this week's letters to the editor, a very strange theory:What a great scaremongering article “The Case against Sugar” is (C&EN, Aug. 4, page 11). Let’s be a touch more logical. So sugar has been bad for generations of people. Nevertheless, removing calories by replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners in soft drinks seems not to have made a difference. Doesn’t that point at the fattening effect coming from another soft-drink ingredient, such as […]
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3:23 PM | Victor Snieckus is a perceptive guy
Much more perceptive than me, regarding the ephemeral nature of electronic communications:The cover story on crystallography is a marvelous piece of journalism and riveting reading, at least to older generations of chemists. What stands out is the tingling thrill of discovery and the convolutions of thought of what would have happened if there had been slight turns of events and selective available knowledge. More apropos to our times, the various articles show how chemistry was a more […]
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3:17 PM | This week's C&EN
Lots of interesting tidbits in this week's C&EN: Marc Reisch notes that Agilent is getting out of the NMR business; sigh. One of the interesting aspects of getting the American Chemistry Council's morning newsletter is seeing them consistently back Republican senatorial candidates. Not a surprise, but perhaps something I was not fully aware of. Glenn Hess takes note of the trend. Also interesting to see that Mary Landrieu (D - LA) is strongly supported by ACC. I am […]
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11:03 AM | Big Data’s Disparate Impact
Take a look at this paper by Solon Barocas and Andrew D. Selbst entitled Big Data’s Disparate Impact. It deals with the question of whether current anti-discrimination law is equipped to handle the kind of unintentional discrimination and digital redlining we see emerging in some “big data” models (and that we suspect are hidden in a bunch more). […]

October 19, 2014

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4:17 PM | Oil decline: Price makes the story
So oft in theologic wars,The disputants, I ween,Rail on in utter ignoranceOf what each other mean,And prate about an ElephantNot one of them has seen!--The Blind Men and The Elephant by John Godfrey SaxeWhen the world's business editors sent their reporters canvassing to find out what is behind the recent plunge in the world oil price, they were doing what they do almost every day for every type of market: stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and real estate.In financial journalism more often […]
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12:31 PM | Aunt Pythia’s advice
Quick, get on the bus! Hurry! Aunt Pythia is gonna be super fast this morning because she’s got crepes to make and apples to pick. Are you ready? Belts buckled? OK great, let’s do this. And afterwards: please think of something to ask Aunt Pythia at the bottom of the page! By the way, if […]
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